Texas Tech University

Ranch Life Learning

John Erickson

Ranch Life Books

The National Ranching Heritage Center is proud to partner with author John R. Erickson in a three-book Ranch Life Learning series that explains ranch life to children through the humorous voice of Hank the Cowdog. These books are written to engage students in learning about ranching and to serve as a resource book for science and social studies classes.

The first book, Ranching and Livestock, was released Oct. 18, 2016. The second book, Cowboys and Horses, was released Sept. 26. The third book, Ranch Wildlife, will be released in the Fall of 2018. 

Books 1 and 2 of the series can be purchased for $6.99 at Cogdell's General Store inside the NRHC, or you can order from Maverick Books here.  Both books are also available on Amazon.

A generous gifts, one from George Clay and another from an anonymous donor,  provided for publication of the first book and donation of the book to area students. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the NRHC. 

For Teachers:

The National Ranching Heritage Center and Region 17 Education Service Center will host two Ranch Life Workshops for educators during the 2017-2018 school year.  

The next workshop will focus on Book 2. It will take place in February 5, 2018 at the National Ranching Heritage Center.  Register today at: https://txr17.escworks.net/catalog/session.aspx?session_id=553645

Download Social Studies and Science TEKS for Book 1

Attention educators! Download activities for book 1 designed by Social Studies Specialist Jennifer Gaona and Science Specialist Michelle Sedberry. 

BOOK 2 activities coming soon!

Ranch Life Learning Center

Forty years ago the doors of the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) opened for the first time. The mission was clear: preserve and bring to life the mystique of early ranch life in the American Southwest. Since the doors opened on July 4, 1976, hundreds of thousands of people have come through our facility. The NRHC is now recognized as the No. 1 visitor attraction in Lubbock. We constantly search for ways to enrich our visitors' experiences and increase our public exposure. We have developed a plan to substantially enrich the experience of all who walk through our doors. It is called the Ranch Life Learning Center.

This center is designed to give an accurate, adult level ranch life educational experience in a format that will absolutely enrich the lives of children of all ages. This information will be communicated through the character and language of a very familiar ranch personality—Hank the Cowdog. Children will learn, perhaps for the first time, how beef cattle are the "magic machines that turn grass into beef." Adults will learn, perhaps for the first time, such little understood concepts as how the four-chambered ruminant stomach really works. The Ranch Life Learning Center will be an indoor/ outdoor comprehensive learning experience.

The Payne Foundation of Pampa, Texas, awarded the Ranching Heritage Association a grant of $50,000 to conceptualize and plan this new venue. They wanted us to dream big. We are now seeking funds, perhaps in excess of $3 million, to make building modifications, construct additional structures and equip the site with appropriate ranch equipment and features. Our quest for these funds includes solicitations to foundations, businesses, industries and individuals. Abundant naming opportunities will be available. We expect the Ranch Life Learning Center to enrich the visitor experience so dramatically at the NRHC that annual attendance figures may increase by 400%. This will, in turn, bring its own set of challenges, but the challenges of success are always easy to meet. Watch with bated breath while we move into this exciting new phase of life at the National Ranching Heritage Center.

To learn more about the Ranch Life Learning Center, contact Julie at 806-742-0498,




Ranch Life Series Book 1Ranch Life Book 1 Cover

 Ranch Life Series Book 2

Ranch Life Book 2



National Ranching Heritage Center